Plastic surgery alternatives offer some benefits such as no or minimal downtime, lower cost, and fewer side effects, as opposed to “nip and tuck” procedures that require more commitment and longer recovery.
The list below explains some of the possible plastic surgery alternatives; however, most of them cannot replicate the exact effects achieved by the “real thing.”
Photo credit: botoxcosmetic.com
* Facelift alternatives. Perhaps Botox is one of the most commonly used non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures. This injectable drug paralyzes the muscles responsible for the sagging appearance or dynamic wrinkles caused by repetitive facial expression.
Dermal filler injection is another good alternative. It works by plumping up the hollowed skin caused by loss of facial fat or soft tissue atrophy or shrinkage.
Other possible facelift alternatives include medical-grade chemical peels, Thermage, and laser skin resurfacing.
However, these aforementioned treatments provide little to no improvement if there is significant tissue laxity or redundant skin, problems that only a “real” facelift can address, as suggested by Los Angeles plastic surgery experts.
Facelift surgery uses incisions within the ear’s contour and/or behind the hairline (so the scars remain hidden), allowing the surgeons to trim any excess skin and tighten the underlying facial muscles. As a result, its effects can last up to 10 years, as opposed to several months in injectable treatments.
* Liposuction alternatives. Non-surgical alternatives often use laser or ultrasonic waves to penetrate the skin and “liquefy” the fats, which the body will gradually flush out, a process that could take several weeks to months.
Meanwhile, liposuction surgery uses a few incisions measuring 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch, which further contract as they heal that after about a year they are difficult, if not impossible, to detect.
Liposuction is ideal for treating a large surface area, while its non-surgical alternatives are only suitable for limited contouring. Simply put, having surgery is the only way to achieve dramatic improvements.
* Tummy tuck alternatives. A combo procedure that involves non surgical laser liposuction and Thermage—which uses radiofrequency that is known to promote new collagen growth, thus leading to a tighter, smoother skin—might provide good results to patients who require minimal correction.
But as with any non-surgical alternative, the combo procedure is only suitable for patients with very little loose skin. Anyone with a redundant skin can only benefit from tummy tuck, which typically uses a hip-to-hip incision within the lower abdomen and just above the pubic area to hide the scar.
Because tummy tuck involves a large flap of skin, it is only reserved for healthy individuals with no healing problems.
Cosmetic procedures, both non-invasive and surgical forms, are continuously increasing in the US, according to a survey from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). However, the organization said more patients are favoring non-surgical treatments such as Botox injection and soft tissue fillers.
In 2010, 13.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the country, with about 88 percent accounting to non-invasive treatments. Meanwhile, almost half of the patients were in their 40s and 50s, a clear manifestation of Americans’ obsession to youthful beauty.
One advantage of non-invasive cosmetic procedures over surgical ones is that they involve no recovery or require little downtime. However, one consideration is that they often need maintenance so the patients can preserve their youthful appearance; for instance, Botox and collagen injection must be repeated at least every six months.
The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) is expecting that non-invasive cosmetic procedures especially those treating the signs of aging will increase in numbers. Botox and Dysport, which both uses neurotoxin in small dosage, will continue their popularity.
Dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm will also continue their popularity. These treatments are used to “fill in” hollowed facial areas such as the cheeks although certain types can also used in lip augmentation.
In addition, non-surgical body contouring procedures such as VelaSmooth and Zerona will continue their popularity.
Over the past couple of years, liposuction has been one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the US. But nowadays, new technologies have made it possible to perform the procedure without using incisions; in fact, some doctors simply inject a concoction of drugs to the fatty areas to melt these away, allowing the body to naturally flush these out.
These are the advantages of minimally invasive procedures over cosmetic plastic surgery:
- The treatments are performed quickly.
- Most procedures are relatively painless or at least the discomfort can be minimized by local anesthesia.
- Bed rest is not required because there is little or no downtime.
- Side effects are minor. But in case the patients develop some swelling, redness, and bruising, these symptoms will likely subside a day or two.
- The procedures are ideal for patients who do not want the idea of going under the knife.
- Most non-invasive treatments provide instantaneous results because there is little or no symptom such as swelling and bruising.
- The non-invasive cosmetic procedures are much cheaper than plastic surgery.
As the cosmetic plastic surgery is shifting to less invasive procedures, some patients who are traditionally seen as a “bad candidate” can now undergo certain procedures without predisposing themselves to high risk of complications.
According to Los Angeles plastic surgeons, mesotherapy liposuction is one of the examples of less invasive techniques which means that it is safe to a significant number of patients. And because it does not involve the use of general anesthesia, people can avoid the risk of nausea and adverse reaction after the treatment. (The picture shown is a mesotherapy machine.)
In the traditional liposuction surgery, patients with cellulites are usually turned down because the treatment can only aggravate the appearance of the “puckery” skin. But with the introduction of mesotherapy, even patients with this condition can undergo a liposuction which can make the skin firmer, thus resulting to a cellulite-free body.
Usually, doctors start this procedure by mapping the target areas which contain the excess, bulging fats and/or cellulites. This is performed while a patient is standing since the cellulites in the abdomen, thighs, and legs disappear if she is lying down.
After mapping their target areas, plastic surgeons inject the tumescent solution directly to the skin in order to dissolve the fatty tissues. The liquefied fats are then suctioned out of the body by using a set of needles which measure 4 to 6mm in length.
And because the needles are very short and thin, most patients will not experience pain during the treatment even if there is no general anesthesia administered.
Compared to the previous techniques used in liposuction surgery, the risks involved in mesotherapy are generally mild since the tumescent solution minimizes the bleeding and reduces the surgical trauma on the surrounding tissues. With this, it has become possible, according to Los Angeles plastic surgeons, to remove more amounts of fats without exposing their patients to high levels of surgical trauma.
Another advantage of mesotherapy over the previous techniques used in liposuction surgery is that patients can expect a significantly shorter downtime. In fact, most of them will be able to resume to their normal activities as soon as they step out from the clinic.
Aside from removing the cellulites, this non-invasive liposuction technique has also been found to improve the appearance of stretch marks, skin sagginess, and acne scars.
As a precise body contouring procedure, mesotherapy is highly ideal to treat the facial regions where bulging fats tend to accumulate (e.g., chin, neck, and cheeks). However, this is also ideal to treat large areas of the body including the thighs, hips, and buttocks.
Ever wonder if the economy is coming back?
Maybe, judging by one positive trend you could almost call, “Have Needle, Will Travel.”
It’s got to be a good thing when you can pick up the phone and order in some cosmetic procedures to your home or office.
Medical Spas have grown in popularity over the last five years but the latest wrinkle is a traveling MedSpa – thankfully, a doctor-supervised service – that brings to your doorstep Botox and facial fillers, along with some laser and skin services.
Discretion is the order of the day! One such California Botoxmobile is a plain wrapper SUV that sneaks into your Orange, San Diego or L.A. County neighborhood, quietly unloads its gizmos and sets about delivering its services, including:
- Chemical peel
- Laser hair removal
- Liquid face lifts
- Vein therapy
(Read more about mobile cosmetic surgery services in the L.A. Times.)
In Texas, Cosmetic Care Concierge is the cosmetic lift that appears at your front door. (We’re tempted to wisecrack about changing the old commercial, “Avon Calling!” to “Botox Calling!”, but, hey, who has ever heard of Avon these days?) Anyhow, the company uses trained, experienced R.N.’s to deliver the injections in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, a place in the Lone Star state otherwise known as the “Cities of Brotherly Hate.”
(Read more about the traveling Botox.)
One New York City plastic surgery center offers a service, “ConciergeBeauty” to Long Island and Manhattan apartments and offices. Stressed, in-a-constant-rush New Yorkers can order Botox, Restylane, Juvederm and acne and spider vein treatments via a traveling crew of trained associates working for a plastic surgeon.
One television reporter was glad she could get Botox injections in the privacy of her own office rather than reporting to a doctor’s waiting room where she might be recognized by some of her public.
It’s not exactly treatment at home, but you can get treatment on-the-go at SmoothMED, a walk-in only Botox and dermal filler clinic in Manhattan. Because Botox injections usually take less than 15 minutes, why make an appointment?
One of the most unusual Botox delivery schemes was a California bubbly-and-Botox pairing.
It happened in 2008 when a wine bar in San Diego hosted a weekly “spa night” wherein a doctor was on hand to give patrons Botox injections.
(Read more about Botox in the bar.)